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Portland superintendent champions early childhood education Print E-mail
vicki-phillipsPortland Schools Superintendent Dr. Vicki Phillips spoke passionately Friday about Oregon's need to implement a comprehensive Early Childhood Education program.  Phillips was addressing elementary school administrators at the central Oregon regional conference of the Oregon Elementary Schools Principals Association at Kah-Nee-Ta.

Phillips stressed that additional funding must be provided by the Legislature for early childhood programs, and that implementation of these programs should not be at the expense of cutting programs for older students.

Phillips said that a comprehensive early childhood education program should address the following:

  1. High quality pre-school for every at-risk three and four year old.

  2. Full day kindergarten for all students.

  3. Lower class sizes (17-20 students) for grades K-3.

Phillips specifically addressed each of the three areas, but focuses her comments on full-day kindergarten.  "The kindergarten programs we are going after are very different from those that exist today," she said.  She emphasized the need for high academic standards for five year olds and quality professional development for teachers and principals to achieve high standards.

Phillips shared impressive student performance results from her experiences in Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Portland after implementation of full-day kindergarten programs, with high standards for children supported by extensive staff development.  She made a case for advocating with the Legislature to allocate funding.  "This is a no-brainer.  A one-dollar investment will result in a four-to-seven-dollar return," she said, because it will result in:

  1. Higher high school graduation levels.

  2. Fewer young people in the juvenile justice system.

  3. Increased parent involvement.

  4. Students who are less likely to need intensive remediation or special instruction.

The OESPA central region conference also featured a Response to Intervention (RTI) session from the University of Oregon, and a Guided Language Acquisition Design (GLAD) session from the Beaverton School District.


This page was last updated on Thursday, May 25, 2006 .